By Ted Rowlands and Michael Martinez, CNN
February 8, 2011 6:06 a.m. EST
(CNN) -- Prominent attorney Giovanni Di Stefano, who has represented former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein and his right-hand man, "Chemical Ali," or Ali Hassan al-Majid, is representing Charles Manson in his attempt for a new trial, Di Stefano told CNN on Monday.
Di Stefano has filed an application with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of Manson, he said. The petition says Manson didn't receive a fair trial when he was convicted 40 years ago because, among other things, he was not allowed to represent himself, Di Stefano said.
The prosecutor in the Manson case, however, said Di Stefano's claim has no merit.
Manson was assigned a public defender after the judge in his case became frustrated with Manson's behavior while he was acting as his own attorney.
Di Stefano said that was a violation of Manson's Sixth Amendment rights and is grounds for a new trial.
Di Stefano said he wants Manson's case to be reviewed in the federal courts in the United States. Because of the notorious clients he has represented, he has been dubbed "the devil's advocate." He lives in Italy.
2009: Manson the inmate
In a telephone interview with CNN, Di Stefano said he is working on the case because he believes in justice, even though the murders Manson is accused of orchestrating were "horrendous."
"This is a question of law," Di Stefano told CNN. "I have no interest in the facts of this case. The law is the law."
Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Manson, said he thinks Di Stefano is "wasting his time," adding that "he may be a fine lawyer and very sincere, but he's coming up against a brick wall here because there is no merit."
Bugliosi said the issue of Manson representing himself has already been ruled on by an appellate court. According to the law, it is up to the trial judge to determine whether someone should represent himself, Bugliosi said.
In this case, Bugliosi said he actually went along with Manson's request. "I felt that he might even do a better job at cross examining the witnesses than real lawyers," Bugliosi said.
However Bugliosi said he believes there is no way Manson could have done everything himself. "He needed counsel to help him," Bugliosi said.
Di Stefano said he believes there were other flaws with Manson's trial, including what he claims was a lack of any proof that Manson told his followers to commit murder.
Manson was convicted of ordering the 1969 "Helter Skelter" murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others.
Manson was originally given the death penalty, but the sentence was changed to life in prison when California temporarily abolished the death penalty in 1972.
Manson is a prisoner at Corcoran State Prison in California, where he's housed in a protective unit.
wow great post!!!! ocasionally i run across the video of sandy good crying charlie was not allowed to represent himself and needs a new trial. but i never thought it would happen.
It never will- they had a chance for a trial, and they turned into a joke themselves...
now that they are older and ( some of them) a little wiser- they don't get a " do-over"...
They had almost no hard evidence ( only a few fingerprints) and Charlie did not commit any of the murders- a good lawyer today would have him plea to a conspiracy charge, and if he had testified against Tex and the others he would be out in a matter of years...
But that is not how he wanted to play it- so now he has to sleep in the bed he made...
the only thing that would make a judge laugh harder than a request to retry Charlie would be to hear Saddams lawyer would be the attorney..
With the state of California's economy- does anyone really think they would spend money to do something like this???
But...no sense makes sense, right?
I don't think it will happen either.
But........wouldn't it be something if a new trial was ordered.
Spectator seats would be by lottery only......kinda like the Michael Jackson memorial.
They'd be snatched up in seconds.
Then they would be the hottest item at StubHub.
I wonder if the girls would be sitting on the street outside the courthouse.
Well.......now they're hardly girls.
Old ladies is more like it.
Instead of stitching Charlie a new vest they would be knitting him a sweater.
The judge would probably be younger than Charlie and all his co-horts.
Charlie would be yelling at the judge, "what the hell do the YOUNG know about the OLD'?
Never happen, but it sure would make for a media event. Could you imagine bringing in all of those witnesses again? None would want to participate so there'd be subpoenas fought, witnesses hiring lawyers to fight having to testify, and weirdos would come out of the closet to get on camera.
Charlie would die of old age before they ever got a jury screened...
What a place to meet for Manson tour 2012....
"I have no interest in the facts of this case. The law is the law."
- (cue Aflac duck & double-take) ah-hah?!
While I understand DeStefano's gist, hilarious nonetheless the choice verbiage.
An Irving Kanarek the 21st century?
My take on all of this is that this is the story that never ends. It has taken on a life of its on. When 'the family' is all dead and gone......the offspring start making the news. In fact, some of them have. They just don't have their Sharon Tate.
I've always wondered if the crimes were committed today, and Charlie had good lawyers(like OJ did) would he have gotten convicted of anything?
Curious to what others think....
man, if only. i was only six during the original trial, but i think my cats and i would just have to move to l.a. during the retrial. wonder if bugliosi could be a special prosecutor.
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